Former Cuban leader: loved by some, despised by others and done with his last days
Only a few historical figures have been as iconic as the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro. Praised by some, and despised by others, Castro was pronounced dead after dealing with major health problems since 2008. Castro, who was almost 90-years-old, held absolute power over Cuba for longer than any other world leader.
The Cuban Revolution was an armed uprising against the authoritarian government of President Fulgencio Batista. Ignited by the anger of social inequality, corruption and poverty, this revolutionary movement gained the support of many young Cubans who were tired of Batista’s regime. The revolution was finally successful when, in 1959, Fidel’s army removed Batista’s government and replaced it with a socialist state. This revolution had significant consequences domestically and internationally.
The relationship between Cuba and the U.S. was changed forever. The U.S., afraid of the rise of communism in the western continent, became Cuba’s worst enemy. Following the revolution, bilateral relations between both countries were shattered. The U.S. made many attempts at overthrowing Fidel’s regime. In 1961, a CIA mission attempted to invade the island but failed dramatically. This led Cuba to work with the Soviet Union to build a nuclear missile base on the island, which cultivated a fear of impending nuclear conflict. This conflict, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, ended with an agreement in which Cuba conceded to remove the nuclear bases and the U.S. promised to not invade the Cuban territory. However, what seemed to be an abiding conflict, came to an end on April 11, 2015, when Presidents Obama and Raul Castro, met after deciding to restore their diplomatic relations.
Cuba is now one of the few remaining socialist countries in the world. Despite the lack of civil rights and freedoms and the slow development towards modern technologies, Cuba’s social indicators lead the region. In Cuba, the government provides free health care, education up to the graduate and basic necessary amenities, such as food and shelter. However, many argue that Cuba’s outstanding social indicators have taken away basic human freedoms and led to a lack of cultural and social development.
The death of Castro marks the end of his revolution. From being a lawyer who gained thousands of hearts with his eloquent speeches, to becoming one of the most important political and historical figures in the modern age, Fidel’s death does not hinder his legacy.
Regardless of the controversial opinions on his regime, his life leaves a lasting influence over worldwide politics. Several are left with joy and relief, while others remain in sorrow. Many Cubans wish for blessings and peace despite his past leadership. Even though Fidel’s death will bring about change in Cuba, the Castro family still holds a powerful grip on the Cuban government, and the world waits to see what the future holds for this country’s future.